The Federal Government has said work is ongoing to criminalize parents who refuse to send their children to school, saying that such parents may also be prosecuted.
The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, stated this in Abuja during a press conference on the Federal Government’s intervention in the basic education sub-sector.
The Federal Government’s intervention, he said, had hit N350bn in the last four years.
Adamu said the ministry had demanded the criminalization of the act of not sending children to school as well as the possible prosecution of such parents.
The minister said although the responsibility for basic education belonged to the state and local governments, the Federal Government through the Universal Basic Education Commission had provided matching grants and other interventions to the 36 states to empower the basic education sub-sector.
Adamu said, “The ministry is calling not just for the criminalization of this act, because something is already being done on that, but for putting the law into effect. The Sokoto State Governor, (Aminu Tambuwal) once did something like this. Unless not sending children to school is made a crime, and parents who refuse to send their children to school are prosecuted, we may not see the desired changes.
“I agree that not sending children to school should be criminalized and it will be done. In the last four years, the Federal Government’s funding of basic education has increased significantly, despite low earnings from oil prices. In 2015, matching and non-conditional grants disbursements to 15 states amounted to N68bn.
“In 2016, grants disbursements to 29 states and the Federal Capital Territory was about N77bn and in 2017, it was N95bn to 24 states. Hence, the disbursements over the four-year period totaled N350bn.”
The minister added that the refusal of some states to provide their counterpart fund so as to access the UBEC fund forced the Federal Government to deduct the money from their allocations so that the education sector would not suffer.
Adamu said, “Corruption and lack of political will have been responsible for most states’ inability to provide their counterpart fund to enable them to access the matching grant provided by the Federal Government.
“The Federal Government therefore decided to deduct from source, which is from the last tranche of the Paris Club refund to states that have not been able to access their money from UBEC.”